Rise in ‘over-capacity’ secondary schools

The Tes reports that the government dismisses claims that new figures reveal a ‘school places crisis’. An increasing number of secondary schools are over-capacity in Year 7, according to new figures.

And in at least three local authority areas, more than two-thirds of schools opened in September with more Year 7 pupils than their published admission number allows.

The Liberal Democrat Party, which collated the figures from Freedom of Information responses from councils, warned of a “school places crisis”.

For the 48 councils that provided figures for Year 7 pupils, just more than a quarter of secondary schools (26 per cent) were over capacity, compared to 21 per cent two years ago. 

Just over one in five schools (21 per cent) were over capacity across all year groups, based on figures from 91 councils. A further 20 per cent were at capacity.

Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran said: “Every parent should be able to send their child to a decent school in their local area. That is why we would invest £7 billion in our schools to expand school places and ensure no child is left behind.”

The areas with the highest proportion of schools where Year 7 was over-capacity were Bury (69 per cent), Calderdale (69 per cent), Stockton (69 per cent), Bradford (58 per cent), Hull (54 per cent), Tameside (53 per cent), and Brighton (50 per cent).

Department for Education spokesperson described claims there was a “crisis” as “fundamentally misleading”.

He added: “We fund local authorities to provide school places for every pupil based on their own forecasts. The result is that the vast majority of parents secure a place for their child at their first choice of secondary school – 83.5 per cent this year, with more than 94 per cent having received offers at one of their top three choices.”  

Read more Rise in ‘over-capacity’ secondary schools

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